Failure isn’t an End Game

Slamming my messenger bag across the room was probably not the most descreet thing I could have done.

“What’s going on,” my Dad asked as he entered the room.

“It’s over. I failed my algebra test. It’s just over,” I replied.

“So, you failed it. And?” My dad replied, rescuing my messenger bag from the corner of the room. My facial expressiin must have echoed my internal confusion as my Dad continued on, “Failure isn’t final, baby girl, unless you decide that it is”.

I knew then (& now), my Dad was right. Failure will and does happen.

We are, simply stated, flawed folks. We will and do fail.

However much we fail..however career ending, life-changing or day altering it may be, it does NOT have to end there. Failure does not have to be final.

I promise you this. I have worked over 10 jobs in my life, endured divorce twice, lost a child, and buried a beloved friend.. I am certainly top of class for failures. It wasn’t (and isn’t) final for me. It isn’t final for you, unless that is your choice.

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Fear first?

Fear.

If you asked me what one word I would use to describe myself a year ago, I would confess it was Fear.

Fear comes so many ways. We fear the monster under our beds, our parents anger, we fear not being liked at school, or not succeeding. We fear losing our jobs, our homes or family. We fear war or we fear ourselves.

We learn fear so young.

And I think it’s a necessity. How are we to understand/appreciate peace if we have never known fear?

I’d like to think fear-filled me of last year was a requirement for knowing a peace-appreciating me this year. May it be so, Lord Jesus.

Pig Day: My two favorite pigs

Don’t expect to read of Porky, Petunia or even Wilbur. My two favorite pigs are ones you don’t likely know…yet.

Creamer Pig

As I was told as a child, the creamer pig was a gift once to my Great-Grandma Brock near the end of her days. At some point in time, it was passed along to my Grandma Lowe.

Memaw, as we called her, never used the pig to serve actual cream. He sat upon a shelf near her kitchen window, where she would often keep her wedding ring when washing dishes and would keep little things she would find such as a stray hair barette or a wheat penny. Year after year, creamer pig would sit by her kitchen window. And get blamed.

In good fun, of course. My Memaw would blame creamer pig if potatoes were under cooked or cornbread a tad too crispy. She would smile & pat creamer pig upon his wee white snout.

In April 2007, my Grandma would leave her home my Grandpa had built them to eventually move into a nursing home. Today would have been her 93 birthday, in fact. She passed away on 7th September 2014.

In fall of 2010, my mom sister and I would reenter my grandparents house again..for our last time. The house was now falling in, most of the floor giving way to the cellar beneath and roof heavy with age. Black mold coated so much, and the air was painful to breathe.

Not much in the house remained, having been heavily scavished by my uncle. But tucked in the corner on what was the livingroom was two cardboard boxes. My mom lifted the lid of the top box, and nestled in grey blankets of newpaper were knicknacks, whatnots that once belonged to my grandparents. My mom and I scooped up the boxes and carried them out.

I would take the boxes to my mom’s home, and fill the kitchen sink full of warm soppy water. One by one, I would baptize each item and tenderly wipe away the years of dust and stain of newsprint. Among those items was the creamer pig.

I, too, have never used the creamer pig for actual cream. I place my rings in it when I wash dishes and fill his hollow wuth bread ties (which I have found many purposes for. That’s a post for another day)

Pigg Lee Pig

My youngest son was less than 2 days old when my sister brought him the plush pig.

I knew immediately this pig, who I named Pigg Lee Pig, was going to be different. The nurses came into my hospital room, making jokes that my youngest son must want the pig bad, because somehow my son had scooted himself until he could touch the pig.

As my son grew, Pigg Lee had to go through every rite of passage that my son did: bottle breaking, potty training, and first night sleeping in a big boy bed. Around the time my son was two, I began to make up bedtime stories about Pigg Lee. In these stories, Pigg Lee was the sheriff of an old west town called Little Town.

As children sadly do, around the age of 11 or 12 my youngest son no longer showed any interest in his pale pink pal and Pigg Lee retired to a shelf along with a t-rex that was his older brother’s. I would sit that year and begin to type up the tales (& tail) of Pigg Lee Pig, and hope some day to publish them.

Do you or your children have a beloved pig?

Samson (2018): Review

Synopsis:

The 2018 Samson movie, produced by Pure Flix Productions and Boomtown films, portrays the life of a young Israel man with incredible strength that comes from GOD. He unwillingly surrenders to fighting against the Philistines. A relationship with the tempting Delilah, a Philistine, leads to Samson losing the strength and being placed into captivity. Samson prays for GOD’s strength one final time, as Samson uses the strength to destroy the temple of the Philistine’s. The movie ends hinting to a future Israel leader, David.

Where the film succeeds

The 2018 Samson movie is filled with action throughout, portraying several of Samson’s fights. This action keeps the action and storyline flowing throughout the film. I enjoyed how effortlessly the film showed Samson defeating the army with only the jawbone of a donkey.

Secondly, the film does a good job showing the wicked oppression that the Israel nation suffered from the Philistines during this time period.

Thirdly, the film successfully points out several times that Samson was chosen by GOD for the role.

Considering that only 36 verses in the Bible (KJV) mention Samson, the film does a great job taking this Biblical story to a nearly 2 hour experience on the screen.

Where it didn’t

  • Samson’s parents (Manoah and wife) and their faith. Judges chapter 13 tells of how when an angel visited Manoah’s wife, then Manoah, to tell them of the coming child, their concern was in doing what GOD would have for them. They wanted to honor GOD for the gift of this child.
  • Samson’s commitment to his calling. Judges 13:24 -25 states that The LORD blessed Samson as he grew and that the Spirit of The LORD began to move upon Samson. Often throughout the new movie, Samson seems to thumb his nose at his calling from GOD and blatantly breaks all of the vows associated with the Nazarite vow.
  • Samson’s own Faith. The movie reflects Samson calling on GOD during the few fights, but does not delve into the fact that Samson’s devotion and faith in GOD was the true strength Samson had- the cutting of his hair was simply a physical way of showing that Samson was willingly disobeying what GOD asked of him

Conclusion

Over all, I give Samson a 3.5 out 5 stars based on the lack of showing the faith component and on how the film seemed to portray Samson as a lustfilled bully than a warrior of the Faith. There is quite a bit of violence shown, which leads me to state that children under the age of 12 should be with an adult when going to see the film.

It is good to see more faith-based films filling the theaters. As Christ-followers, we need to be supporting family friendly films and certainly supporting Christian-based films. We should also use these as spring boards for discussions with our friends and family.

{I did not receive any type of compensation for my review, and the opinions expressed are mine alone}

How it Started, & Where it is Going

7 years ago, I began to blog here. At first, it was a scattering of memories and a few reviews. It wasn’t ever created with a clear enough purpose.

I’ve rolled that thought around a lot lately. I’ve wondered at times if I should delete those original posts, or even stop the blog altogether.

I’ve fought with comparing myself too much to other bloggers. And I have been facing a lot of life adjustments these last few months.

And I’ve come to a conclusion: I will continue to write, and probably more so. Those original posts will remain, too, since they are a part of my journey.

I will continue to write about faith in Christ Jesus, about doubts and fears, about mistakes I have made and new mistakes I am certain to make along the way. I will write about these things, and just continue to do what I do best: be simply me.

What today isn’t 

When the alarm clock wakes hours after you

When the weather and road conditions aren’t clear

When the closest parking spot is 50 yards from the store

When the insurance didn’t cover it..and the bill is twice your take home pay

When what was suppose to be your 20th wedding anniversary is your 3rd yr alone.

There will be days like these. Or maybe, like me, you’ve had an abundance of days like these.

But these days aren’t..

These days aren’t the way life always has to be. These days do not define you. Or me.

I thought they did. Eight years ago, I was going through a divorce. A divorce wasn’t suppose to happen to me, right? Preacher’s kids don’t get divorced…but there I was, trying to wade through the muck, relocating and also finding a new job. I remember laying face down on the floor, crying until the tears scorched my face. I thought.. this is it. I will never have a normal life again.

How funny… “normal”. I’ve always been proud of the fact that I am not your normal girl. And yet, I was mourning what I thought normal was suppose to be. I honestly thought the pain, shame, and rejection I felt was my new norm.

It wasn’t. Not every day. I admit, there have still been many a day since that I’ve laid face down in tears over things I’ve done or things I’ve had done to me.

Through each of those moments since, one passage of scripture has been my reminder:

Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.

~Joshua 1:2

Moses had been Israel’s leader for many years. Many had followed him all oftheir life. They trusted him. They depended on him to lead. And now, he had died.

Israel was mourning. And probably feeling clueless as to what the future would hold.

Perhaps Israel felt afraid. I imagine some were. Moses had led them their ancestors out of Egypt. Moses had brought the 10 commandments down from the mountain. Moses had been a part of all they had known.

And better still, now after years and years and years, they were suppose to follow Joshua into a land they really knew nothing about.

8 years ago, I knew nothing about being a single mom. I knew nothing about trying to date as a divorcee… and I certainly was terrified at the thoughts of trying to do life without my husband.

Joshua 1:2 picks up as Israel has been in mourning for Moses. Joshua, too, was mourning. And God tells Joshua a few things here:

1) what has happened has happened

GOD doesn’t skirt the facts. Moses, Israel’s leader and Joshua’s mentor had died. It was a hard reality. But Israel and Joshua both had to come to terms with the fact that Moses was dead and he wasn’t coming back.

I had to get myself out of denial. I was now divorced, and no matter how much it hurt and I regretted it, that was the reality. And nothing could undo it.

2) it’s time to move forward

God told Joshua to get up and go. They had mourned long enough.

It’s easy to sulk in our losses or failures.

I had mourned the loss of my marriage daily, sometimes hourly. I beat myself up constantly for my part in the marriage failing. I knew I had to get up and go.

Was it easy? No. Was it a one and done? No. I printed Joshua 1:2 on index cards and hung them in every door of my apartment. I made the routine of reading it outloud every time I left for work and again when I got home. And gratually, I began to stop mourning.

3) Remember HIM and HIS promises

God had for years promised the people of Israel two things: Land and His Presence

The vows my husband and I had made to each other years ago had been broken. But tge vows, the promises of GOD, are sure. They will never be broken.

My journey these 8 years hasn’t always been easy, just as Joshua’s journey from Joshua 1:2 to Joshua 24:29 wasnt alwats easy for him. Just like Joshua, though, I have found found God always good, always sufficent, and always, always faithful to His promises.

To Dream: Dr. King wouldn’t be Happy

Race. 50 years..5 decades have dwindled away since a gunshot would take Dr. Martin L. King Jr from this life. And yet Race remains as hot of a word today as then.

It probably will sound odd..and maybe even cold when I say this… Im not sure I understood Race until I was in my 20s.

My dad was helping a local African-American church when I was born, so my baby dedication actually happened in that church. 

We moved into southern GA when I was only 8. I attended a school that was less than 15% Caucasian. 

The moment I realized the struggle of race was in 1999, standing in front of a MLK statue in Alabama. I watched as other caucasions would cross the street to avoid it. I stood there, crying, as I read Dr. King’s statue as a African-American man said to me, “why are you crying? Your kind killed him”.

I wept. I still remember that day. 

Dr. King would shake his head, surely,  in distain, to see his America still struggling to find peace.

50 yrs later, we are still divided. Weekly, social media feeds are filled with more incidents of shootings, of hate talk.

Dr. King, there are some things we have gotten right since that sad April day 50 yrs ago you left us. And there is still a long way to go. May there be peace. May there be more equality. May there be minds more open, and hearts with hands extended to help our fellow man..our fellow woman..our fellow American..our fellow human being. That, dear friend,  will be the true dream. 

NWC: Days 24-27

Apparently, sharing the prompts from the social media page for my local writers group has been a total Fail. There have been no new prompts for days 24-27. With essentially only 2 days remaining..im frustrated that it hasn’t panned out

My idea instead is that with each month, I will begin to share a new theme..with 4 theme related prompts under it to provide writers A weekly challenge to create a new piece. This solves two problems: 1) I don’t have to rely on the prompts from a group. These will be ideas based on things in my world, suggestions from other local writers, and random ideas I may stumble upon online. (2) It gives me a tad more flexibility. I work a job that  3 times a yr is incredibly demanding. I rarely get to sit and be creative in my writing daily. To be honestly brash, sometimes I’m too mentally exhausted to cook more than a heated up can of soup. A monthly theme with 4 challenges under it keeps me writing and creating new..but also gives me grace for these all too busy days. 

If (if) the group shares any prompts for Nov 29 & 30th, I will publish them here. 

Either way, return back Dec 1 for the December writing theme and 4 prompts. 

Thank you as always for your support. 

30 Days of Thanks: Days 23 & 24

I first started taking part of 30 Days of Thanks in 2009. During the last 8 years, I have published these days of thanks on my personal social media account. This year, however, began with me teetering on the brink of financial and emotional ruin. Over the course of the year, GOD showed up and showed off time and time again. Out of the humility and gratitude of this year, I decided to share here my 30 days of Thanks here on my blog. I do hope that one, that in reading them it turns your own heart toward gratitude and that it inspires you to express that gratitude in your own way. 

Day 23: Steven, my fiancee’

You didn’t misread.

Steve of courageouschristianfather.com and I officially are looking to get married in 2018.

I never would have expected Steve. He is kind, gentle, and encouraging. He sees the beauty in my quirky nerdiness, finds my dimples and graying hair cute, and is patient with me slowing healing.

Steve is a broken person like me, and has by the fabulous Grace of GOD slowly began to rebuild a life- this time striving to keep it Christ centered.

I know he would be the first to confess that he isn’t perfect. And I know that- after all, he is a fan of my favorite team’s rival. Steve and I have had many conversations about our pasts and the weird things that GOD has used to grow us and to teach us things about ourselves and about Christ.

I didn’t know I would be able to love someone so deeply again. I certainly didn’t know that I would looking at getting married next year. I certainly have to say that this love that I have found in Steve & this future that we are looking at sharing together is nothing short of a GOD thing.

I can’t even begin to express my thankfulness for GOD placing Steve into my life.

Day 24: Joel The Brave

It is furbabyfriday, after all.

Joel also was a gift from GOD. I was struggling with unmanageable levels of anxiety. My job performance was suffering, my care of my home was slacking and care of my own well-being was nearly non-existent. I was sifting through Facebook, in some sort of means to distract myself from the disaster my life was in, and there was a post:

3 baby cats, needing a home.

And without a hesitation, I found myself responding: I want the black one. On June 23rd of this year, I welcomed into my home a tiny black boy cat that I named Joel The Brave.

GOD placed into Joel’s wheelhouse of knowledge a sweet demeanor and the ability to calm me down. Within 2 weeks of having him, my closest friends began to comment on how much better I seemed to be handling my anxiety. Within a month of having Joel, my anxiety was in half.

It’s certainly a GOD thing. Joel seems to know exactly when my anxiety is getting high and he will pounce into my lap and cuddle and purr. He will even take tiny paw and pet my face, as if in his own feline way saying “hooman..calm down”.

GOD certainly knew best when HE placed this lively, silly, firetruck loving fur baby in my life.

Happy Furbaby Friday, Y’all.

 

NWC: Days 21-23

The Facebook group from which I have been sharing these challenges for days 21 or 22.

Day 23: Write about coming together & healing

Our world is so filled with hurt, and with each day more news stories come forward that display increasing hurt.

As a Christian, I am most full aware that sin will continue to riddle the world and more hurt.

What will you write with this challenge? Will you write about a global hurt, a family betrayal, the healing after a break up or even how your immune system joins together to fight off the flu?

If you write from any of the challenges I share, or write from any writing challenge this month please comment with a link or share your piece.